[Ads-l] Early (?) infixing

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Wed Nov 30 18:56:14 UTC 2022

There is a match for obligoddamnation in Google Books that might be
circa 1906. The book is restricted to snippet view which is a danger
sign that the GB date is flawed.

Date: 1906 (GB date; The book is in snippet view; hence, the 1906
publication date is uncertain. WordCat lists 1906 with a question
mark. On the other hand, a snippet indicates that there is at least
one letter in the book that is probably dated February 19, 1906.
Hence, some material in the book is pertinent)
Book: Samoan Letters
Author: William Churchill
Page 1 GB


[Begin excerpt]
And why should any body have any responsibility to rother (bother) him
when he's heart and soul a Polynesian and under no obligoddamnation to
[End excerpt]

Below are germane comments from H. L. Mencken on the topic.

Year: 1937
Title: The American Language: An Inquiry into the Development of
English in the United States
Author: H. L. Mencken (Henry Louis Mencken),
Fourth Edition Corrected, Enlarged, and Rewritten,
Part VI: American and English
Chapter 8: Expletives
Quote Page 315 and 316,
Alfred A. Knopf, New York.
Verified with scans

[Begin excerpt]
The American custom of inserting goddam into other words, to give them
forensic force, is generally believed by the learned to have been
launched by the late Joseph Pulitzer, of the New York World, a great
master of profanity in three languages. The story current is that he
resorted to it in order to flabbergast the managing editor of the
World, Foster Coates. "The trouble with you, Coates," he is said to
have roared, "is that you are too indegoddampendent!" Another version
makes Coates the inventor. According to it, Pulitzer sent out an
unwelcome order, and Coates replied to his catchpoll: "Tell Mr.
Pulitzer that I'm under no obligoddamnation to do that, and I won't."
[End excerpt]

[Begin footnote]
1 See Reporters Become of Age, by Isabelle Keating, Harper's Magazine,
April, 1935, p. 601.
[End footnote]


On Wed, Nov 30, 2022 at 1:35 PM Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu> wrote:
> Nice to think that if Pulitzer's infixed "indegoddamnpendent" really does
> take the antedate cake for in-print cites, it conforms to the
> much-discussed stress pattern manifested by "absofuckinlutely" (cf.
> McCarthy 1982 et al.). And perhaps the originator himself will henceforth
> no longer be remembered in intro ling. classes only for his association
> with "Pullet surprises" (cf. Fromkin & Rodman).
> LH
> On Wed, Nov 30, 2022 at 1:22 PM ADSGarson O'Toole <adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com>
> wrote:
> > Interesting topic, Ben.
> > The Oxford English Dictionary has pertinent information within the
> > entry about 'absolutely'.
> >
> > [Begin excerpt]
> > absolutely, adv. and int.
> > B. int. colloquial.
> > 2. With an expletive infixed for humorous emphasis, as
> > abso-blessed-lutely, abso-bloody-lutely, abso-blooming-lutely, etc.
> > 1909   R. E. Beach Silver Horde xi. 147   'Did you rustle this money
> > without any help?' he demanded. 'Abso-blooming-lutely!'
> > 1912   A. M. N. Lyons Clara xxiv. 265   His Information was
> > abso-blessed-lutely good and all the very latest; right Up-to-Date.
> > [End excerpt]
> >
> > Garson
> >
> > On Wed, Nov 30, 2022 at 10:54 AM Ben Yagoda <byagoda at udel.edu> wrote:
> > >
> > > From Walt McDougall, “Old Days on the World,” American Mercury, January
> > 1925. McDougall, an illustrator, is writing about his time on The World in
> > the 1880s and ‘90s.
> > >
> > >  “[Joseph] Pulitzer and [John A.] Cockerill were the most profane men I
> > have ever encountered. I learned much from them, for their joint vocabulary
> > was extensive and in some respects unique. When J. P. was dictating an
> > editorial upon some pet topic, such as Collis P. Huntington's ill-gotten
> > wealth, Jay Gould's infamous railroad wrecking or Cyrus Field's income, his
> > speech was so interlarded with sulphurous and searing phrases that the
> > whole staff shuddered. He was the first man I ever heard who split a word
> > to insert an oath. He did it often, and his favorite was
> > ‘indegoddamnpendent.’”
> > >
> > > Ben
> > >
> > > www.benyagoda.com
> > > ------------------------------------------------------------
> > > The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
> >
> > ------------------------------------------------------------
> > The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
> >
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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